If there’s one holiday tradition that is sure to be different in 2020, it’s the annual office party. Whether your company normally throws a big evening bash, an intimate luncheon, or even a “bring the kids to meet Santa” afternoon, all of that is now on hold in the South Shore as companies try to keep their employees safe from Covid-19.
So, what are companies doing instead of their traditional plans? While many offices have decided to just forego group celebrations this year, many others have come up with some clever alternatives that we found so creative and inspiring, we decided to share them here.
Maybe you’ll find an idea you’d like your own company to do this year.
Virtual Holiday Office Parties
With so many of us working remotely, it seems natural that the holiday office party would also move online. And we are impressed with some of the creativity we’re hearing from people we know which includes parties like these:
After mailing gourmet cookies to their employees, one company invited them to an online baking session with a well-known chef where they would be taught how to make such delicious treats at home. This idea could be scaled back to feature local experts who can lead a tutorial in everything from fancy gift wrap, to wreath making, to assembling holiday appetizers.
Virtual Wine Tasting:
We heard about one local company that mailed a few bottles of wine to each employee and then hosted a virtual wine tasting, led by a representative from the vineyard. Not sure about alcohol consumption? This idea could be used to host a chocolate tasting from a local candy company as well.
Online Gingerbread House Contest:
One local realtor is hosting an online Gingerbread House decorating contest. With kits for each employee, they can decorate them either while together online or beforehand. Judges will then be on hand via Zoom or another platform to pick their favorites and award prizes.
Some companies will host an online holiday trivia night for their employees to test who has the best knowledge of the season. Bonus points for anyone who shows up wearing an ugly holiday sweater!
Virtual Escape Room:
If you have a group that works well together, hosting a virtual escape room challenge can be a fun way to spend a few hours one afternoon or evening.
Include the Kids:
If many of your employees have younger kids, consider including them in this year’s party. Your company may hire a magician or story teller to provide a little entertainment. . .and maybe even schedule a surprise visit from Old Saint Nick.
Decorated Door Contest
For one office that is currently working in person, employees were given supplies and allowed to use some work time to prepare for a Decorated Door Contest. Employees will later be invited to stroll safely around the office to vote for their favorite door and then pick up a pre-packed meal for lunch. Contest winners will get a special prize.
Skip the party but share the savings
For many companies, throwing a lavish party, on or off line, just isn’t in the budget after such a difficult year. But if your company is doing well, you may consider using your party budget to hand out bonuses or gifts to your hardworking staff.
Or let your employees know that you will be donating this year’s holiday party budget to a local charity or food pantry to help alleviate some of the difficulties so many in the region are experiencing.
Countdown to Christmas
We heard from a few companies that they will be doing “12 Days of Christmas” giveaways instead of a one-time party this year. In some cases, employees will all get a small token of thanks each day, like chocolates, teas, fancy pens, special desserts, or decorated face masks. In another company, one employee will be chosen at random each day to win a larger gift.
As one commenter said, “It’s not like a party, but we get to celebrate every day.”
And no matter how you or your company celebrates the season, may your holidays be safe and happy.